The original PS2 illegal street racer returns in massively updated form to speed past its rivals and claim the arcade driving crown once again. Become a novice driver seeking to gain acceptance in the underground society of driving fanatics across three of the world's most iconic cities: Los Angeles, Paris and Tokyo. Defeat challengers, and their customised vehicles are your reward; soon you could be getting behind the wheel (or handlebars) of speedy roadsters, beefy muscle cars and even sleek motorcycles as a reward for your superior driving abilities. If you prefer the idea of taking on real-life racers, Midnight Club II also offers a varied selection of thrilling off and online multiplayer modes that will keep you and your friends burning the midnight oil for a long time to come. The graphics have been waxed and polished, and the gameplay has been tuned to perfection - now it's time for you to take it for a spin.
The first rule of Midnight Club is that there are no rules - use any route or shortcut you see fit, just so long as it leads you to that all-important checkpoint before anyone else. You'll go up against a number of interesting and colourful characters, some friendly, some not so friendly, and with improved AI they're capable of doing whatever it takes to prevent you from capturing their prized dream machines. Once your skills are up to scratch and you've got the greatest vehicles on offer, it's time to prove your worth against the rest of the world.
While you can burn rubber against up to three pals at home, you can take the MCII experience online in what could soon become the virtual equivalent of real race gangs in outlawed competition. If you feel up to it, you can host and set the rules of your own competition, but if someone else has a game set up that piques your interest, you can ask to join in with them. Up to eight players can tackle five online play modes - Career Race, Circuit Race, Race Edit, Capture the Flag and Detonator. The former two offer straightforward point-to-point and lap-based races, but the latter three are unique to the driving game world. Race Edit lets you determine the location of checkpoints and then challenge opponents to defeat you on your own creation; Capture the Flag is a high-speed cat and mouse chase where you must be the vehicle holding the flag when you cross the finish line to win; and Detonator replaces the flag with a detonation device - cross the checkpoint while holding it and your opponents go up in smoke.
Compared to the original, Midnight Club II is the gaming equivalent of trading in your old family saloon for a turbo-charged, two-seater sportscar. The single-player game alone is a worthy rival to the best of the current PS2 arcade racing crop, but with four-player offline and eight-player online multiplayer modes also in tow, it becomes a driving title beyond compare. Huge cities, beautifully detailed vehicles, slick controls and guaranteed longevity - what more could you possibly ask for?
- Dramatically enhanced visuals and gameplay
- Race on two or four wheels
- Five network gaming modes
- Over 200 miles of city streets in three locations